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OPINION: FIVE things Stewart Donald SHOULD clear up when he meets Sunderland supporters tonight

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Stewart Donald - flanked by Managing Director Tony Davison - will take part in a Q&A tonight with Sunderland supporters at the Red & White Army AGM. Here are five things we think that people would benefit from hearing more about.

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How confident are you that we’ll get a striker in before the Charlton game?

The one big itch that the new Sunderland owners haven’t been able to scratch yet is the fact that they haven’t managed to recruit THE striker that we want to see leading the line throughout the entirety of the coming season.

Yes, we’ve brought in Jerome Sinclair - albeit on loan - and Chris Maguire has played there in the past, but its no secret that the club are desperate to sign a striker and have been ever since the new regime arrived on Wearside.

Time is running out very quickly for us to get someone in before the Charlton game, and that’s a concern. We know that they’ve been trying their best to get more than one striker in but, as of right now, we’ve seen very little in the way of progress on that front.

What’s taking so long with the Charlie Wyke deal? Are we still keen on Billy Sharp? Have we got someone else in mind because of the length of time it’s taking for us to make headway with our top targets?

Hopefully, come the end of the evening, we’ll have a better idea of where we are at.

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What’s going on regarding the lawsuits the club are facing after the Ricky Alvarez fiasco?

We know very little about the ongoing lawsuits against the club with regards to the Ricky Alvarez scenario, and it’d be nice to get some clarity on where we stand and how much the fines we’ll receive are going to eat into our immediate cash-flow.

Will Stewart Donald have to front up and pay it, or will that responsibility fall at the feet of Ellis Short? Has there been any progress? What sort of knock on effect could being hit with heavy fines have on our ability to spend, say, next year? Are we planning for the worst case scenario?

For legal reasons Donald may not be able to reveal all of the gory details, but it would be nice to at least get an update on where the club stands with it all and to find out whether Donald is worried about what sort of impact the issue may potentially have on us in the future.

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Who is in charge of transfers?

We know that Richard Hill, Tony Coton and Jack Ross all work together in order to get players through the door, but it would be interesting to find out who has the final say on which players we pursue.

We haven’t really heard specifics on how it all works. Who signs the deals off? Who makes the decision to press ahead with our interest in a player? Who decides what our ceiling is with regards to bidding on a player? Who leads the scouting? Who gets the final say when signing players for the U23s side?

There are plenty of things around how our recruitment committee works that I think fans would benefit from learning about - if the process of how things work is properly explained, maybe there’ll be less tension around all of it in the future amongst the Sunderland supporters.

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How badly is our inability to shift certain players hamstringing our transfer activity?

Don’t get me wrong, I think that the club have done a cracking job of bringing players in over this summer and we’re really not that far away from where we need to be.

But, that said, I can’t help but feel that we might have been able to get players in quicker than we have done if we’d been able to get rid of the high earners that are eating up a large chunk of our wage budget.

Financial Fair Play is no joke - QPR have just been hit with a £42m fine due to their flaunting of the rules. We have to be careful, and I don’t blame the club for taking a cautious approach when trying to build a side for a campaign in League One.

We STILL haven’t got rid of Didier Ndong, Lamine Kone, Papy Djilobodji, Brian Oviedo and Lee Cattermole, and that must be a real drain on the club and our resources.

Perhaps Donald can give us an idea of whether or not our inability to shift them has impacted our chances of signing certain players, and can give an update on how close to the exit door they all are.

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What’s the grand plan with Juan Sartori and his involvement?

Stewart Donald has only really touched upon this briefly in the past, but it’d be nice to hear exactly what the club’s plan is regarding Juan Sartori’s involvement with Sunderland AFC.

We know that, in the past, a group involving Charlie Methven, Sartori and Stewart Donald tried - and failed - to purchase Oxford United. The plan there was similar - to get the club promoted, use Sartori’s links with Monaco to give them a leg up on recruitment and the financial side of things, and then look to establish the club in the top flight.

Is the plan the same here at Sunderland? Is Sartori committed to taking a more pivotal role in the event of promotion? In this plan that they have for the club, how important is Sartori and does it all rely on him being able to secure us future investment? Can we expect to make a formal link with AS Monaco that sees us, for example, take their best young players on loan?

There are so many more things about Sartori that we are yet to learn, and it’d be good to hear Donald explain at length where he sees Sunderland going with Sartori on board and involved with the running of the club on a day-to-day basis.